Barry Harris Workshop DVD

miscellaneous Nov 09, 2014

and Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar

The Barry Harris Workshop DVD is a superb learning tools that teaches how to play in the "style" of the great bebop tradition. Legendary jazz pianist and educator Barry Harris teaches mostly in his NYC studio and he's also available ... in the comfort of your living room!

Harris is probably the best jazz teacher alive and was referred to as "Charlie Parker on the piano" by Benny Golson.

This 4-hour long workshop comes in 4 DVD's and a 112-page workbook. Here's a rundown of the content:

1 - The ABC's

Exercises that cover basics of bebop techniques: Scales, arpeggios and triads, "cliche" bebop phrases, bebop scales (with passing notes), the diminished and related dominants, re-thinking m7(b5) chords to minor 6 and more...

Some bebop exercises available for free on this website:

1- sample rhythm exercise from the DVD
2- Advanced Bebop Scale Exercises 
(both derived from Barry Harris Workshop's teachings)

2 - Applications

Actual bebop repertoire with applications of previous chapter's concepts and exercises: Scale outlines, note-by-note "line building" over standard progressions with Barry, on tunes such as : Indiana / Donna Lee, Blues, Rhythm changes, Anthropology, Cherokee, How High the Moon / Ornithology. This is a great section of the Barry Harris Workshop if you want to understand exactly how to create lines from the basic material.

3 - Movable chord forms for Piano and Guitar

Barry Harris Workshop unique approach to harmony and comping described into details on repertoire. Guitar fingerings are included! This way of thinking chords is further expanded upon in another nice book, the Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar (by Alan Kingstone). See Below.

4 - Focus on rhythm section

Rhythmic exercises for rhythm section players (more effective for bass and drums but also useful to pianists and guitarists.)

5 - Vocalizing

This is the part of the Barry Harris Workshop where the teacher "schools" two singers on breathing, phrasing and improvisation.


Review of the Workshop DVDs

I've been using the Barry Harris Workshop for a few years, and I still do! One of my university teacher recommended it to me. He said:

"Yeah, I saw Barry Harris at a clinic once. He literally taught us a
whole solo chorus on rhythm changes... just verbally! It was great."

I got the workshop DVDs shortly after and started working on it. My teacher was right: Barry speaks to you and you know exactly what to play. He has formalized the bebop language in such a way that he teaches it clearly and convincingly.

The first two chapters are still the ones I work on the most. The instructions are clear and it made me realize that there is so much work to do in order to completely master bebop...

...and I'll also understood that Barry is an incredible teacher.
Probably the best alive, maybe the best ever.

We seldom see true jazz artists like Barry that are at the same time great teachers. And remember, Barry started to record as a leader more than 50 years ago! (Makes you feel young doesn't it?!)

Overall 5 stars for the Barry Harris Workshop !!! I improved my chops, time, rhythms and improvisation with this tool. I would recommend it to all students of jazz, on all instruments, whatever the level.


Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar
(by Alan Kingstone)

The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar

This is the book that changed it all for me, harmonically speaking. Alan Kingstone is a student of Barry and wrote a comprehensive volume on the harmonic approach... and the best part is: it's for guitar!


Alan Kingstone convinced me that jazz guitar should stand on the same ground as jazz piano (provided guitarists work assiduously). Think about it: guitarists have a huge advantage over keyboard instruments when it come to comping in different keys, modulations, chromaticism, etc.

Kingstone's written suggestions, exercises, substitutions and "movable chord" concepts have been mind opening for me. It's a completely new way of thinking that seems more connected to what jazz really is.

And what are those concepts exactly?

Well... it simply starts with the basics (C major 6th chord, C E G A, for example) [PDF with examples here...] and the universal tension-release principles (home-away-home). It progresses until you realize that ...

II V 's are too static and became obsolete through jazz education!

I know it's a bold statement but... There's not much else to say about it!

This new way of thinking freed me from all the usual comping stuff: it drastically opened up my playing. And the basic concepts lead to more and more advanced material.

Trust me, this harmonic method goes beyond anything else I've seen so far! It's starts very simple and is all well explained and demonstrated. You may be skeptical, I know I was! You simply need to try. For me, just seeing the chord diagrams for 5 minutes was when it "clicked".

So if you're interested and completely skeptical : send me an email! I can answer your questions regarding its content.



For intermediate guitarists ready to "crack the code" in jazz


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